x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Extremists have sabotaged Syrian revolution

Terrorists are using our children to fight the world and it has gone out of control. It is an issue that must be dealt with at the root, writes Abdulrahman Al Rashed (Asharq Al Awsat). Other topics: US proposal (Al Khaleej) and Geneva 2 (Nael Hariri – Al Hayat)

In Saudi Arabia, the pursuit of violent extremist groups has gained traction in the past decade, writes the columnist Abdulrahman Al Rashed in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

Despite these efforts, these groups are increasing in strength, particularly Al Qaeda, he noted.

But trying to explain why it has been allowed to requires lengthy socio-political analysis.

Some see it as the product of an extremist intellect that feeds off events surrounding it.

What is certain is that we are encountering a growing phenomenon.

When Al Qaeda first emerged in 2001, it numbered only a few hundred militants all based in Afghanistan.

Today, it has armies with tens of thousands of militants spread geographically to some ten countries where they engage in daily attacks.

“The reason for that isn’t foreign interference or religious injustice, as some like to suggest. It is a disease that continues to spread.

“Security measures are not the cure. The cure starts with education and culture,” the writer observed.

Earlier this week, the Saudi government issued a decision criminalising any involvement by Saudi nationals in wars in the region, punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

Saudi Arabia has resolved a significant aspect of the cultural controversy. Do the actions of a criminal regime, like Bashar Al Assad’s, justify an angry Saudi’s decision to board a plane and join the fight in Syria?

Extremist groups managed to convince many young men that fighting alongside the oppressed is an individual duty.

They hijacked many a young man’s sentiments and transformed them into battalions ready to fight anywhere and at any moment. They hijacked minds.

“Syria doesn’t need them. It already has thousands of Syrians that are waging the battle and who don’t need any foreigners competing with them.

“They don’t want any Saudis, Libyans, Kuwaitis, Chechens or Muslim Europeans. All they need is support from afar,” he said.

In one year, those so-called volunteers sabotaged the Syrian revolution and distorted its cause. They corrupted the Syrian social fabric and rather than fight Al Assad and Iran, they ended up serving them.

Those bloodthirsty militants have no worthy cause. They are ill-minded, misled individuals exploited by parties that have become masters of manipulation of the masses. They are using our children to fight the world and it has gone out of control. It is an issue that must be dealt with at the root, the writer concluded.

Kerry’s compensation plan is not right

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, has proposed a plan for Arabs to pay a settlement of $3 billion as compensation for Israelis ousted from the Arab states.

“Preposterous,” commented the Sharjah-based daily Al Khaleej in its editorial on Wednesday. “What about the six million Palestinians who were banished from their lands?” the paper asked.

No Arab authority has ever issued any action to drive Israelis out of Arab lands, they left of their own accord after promptly selling all of their belongings.

“This compensation plan is simply meant to upset and provoke Palestinians and Arabs alike because it places the blame on the victim rather than the culprit,” Al Khaleej said.

It is typical of America to view Arab human rights issues with a particular slant.

So, the question remains, who will compensate for driving out the Palestinians from their lands for the past 70 years?

“All of what America owns, all of its assets and riches, will not be enough to compensate for one grain of Palestinian soil.”

Geneva 2 lacked a proper discourse

As Geneva 2 has ended, most have declared it an abject failure.

Writing in Al Hayat, Nael Hariri remarks that analysts and journalists tended to refer to the hopes of success in the talks as “unrealistic”. The present benchmark for success seems to be reaching agreement on establishing a transitional government in Syria. No such accord exists.

On the highest political level, the agenda depended on how much both delegations represented the various Syrian factions. That they did not, only leads one back to the conclusion that the conference was an unmitigated failure.

The missing link in the Syrian crisis over the past three years has been the need for a process that can promote appropriate discourse.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk